April 3, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A night after taking down Pacific in straight sets, the No. 10 UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball team was given a dose of its own medicine, falling to No. 1 Stanford, 3-0, in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play Saturday at Rob Gym. With the win, the Cardinal avenged their previous loss to the Gauchos back in January, when UCSB used four sets to take down then-No.2 Stanford at Burnham Pavilion.
Set scores were 30-26, 30-28, and 30-23 in favor of the Cardinal. Stanford (16-5), which is currently tied for the lead in the MPSF standings with a 13-5 conference record, clinched one of eight MPSF Tournament berths with the win. With the loss, UCSB (11-14) remained in ninth place in the MPSF with an 8-11 conference record, trailing Long Beach by a half game for eighth place and the final spot in the postseason tournament. The Gauchos have three conference matches remaining while LBSU has four conference matches left.
In a match that featured the top two hitters in the MPSF in UCSB's Jeff Menzel (5.33 kills/set) and Stanford's Brad Lawson (5.11 kills/set), the Cardinal used its entire front line to provide the scoring, getting nine kills from Evan Romero and Spencer McLachlin in addition to Lawson's 14 kills. Kawikia Shoji, who ranks second in the MPSF with a 13.95 assists per set average, dished out 43 assists on the night.
For the Gauchos, Menzel connected on 20 of his 50 swing attempts, mustering a .140 hitting percentage while adding five digs. Scott Slaughter followed with eight kills on the night, leading the team with a .462 hitting percentage. Freshman Dylan Davis connected on seven of his eight attack attempts with only a single error, adding six block assists. Andy McGuire scooped 12 digs and Vince Devany tallied a match high 47 assists.
Down by five in the first set, consecutive kills from Menzel and an ace by Slaughter brought the Gauchos within two, 19-17. The Cardinal committed their first hitting error of the match, but followed that play with four consecutive points to increase the lead back to five. UCSB would nudge back within two following a pair successful floating attacks from Blaine Nielsen and Menzel, making it 27-25 in Stanford's favor. From there, the top two kill leaders in the MPSF would take over. Lawson pummeled his next swing off a block for the kill with Menzel answering with a kill of his own. After Lawson found his mark on the next play, Menzel's attack down the middle landed long, giving the Cardinal the first set, 30-26.
After climbing back from a 6-9 deficit to take a 10-9 lead in the second set, the Gauchos once again found themselves down by three, 13-16. UCSB would take the next five points to take a 20-18, highlighted by a pair of Menzel kills and two blocks from Davis. Stanford would even the match and then extend its lead to four, 27-23, after a kill from McLachlin, a block from Romero, and a pair of UCSB hitting errors. The Gauchos would win three consecutive points to bring themselves back within one but McLachlin's next attack attempt would find its mark, giving Stanford a 2-0 match lead with the 30-28 victory.
UCSB managed only a .263 hitting percentage in the final frame, committing six serve errors in the process. Stanford countered with a .433 team clip (15-2-30), only relinquishing the lead twice in their 30-23 set three victory.
The Gauchos will be back in action on Wednesday, April 7, as they take to the road to play No. 5 Cal State Northridge at the Matadome. UCSB lost both of its previous matches against the Matadors this year.
The Gauchos will be at home on Friday, April 9, as they host Penn State in a non-conference tune up at 7 p.m. in Rob Gym.
Tickets for all matches this season are available by calling 805.893.UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or by purchasing online and printing at home. The Intercollegiate Athletics Ticket Office has two parking spaces adjacent to the building and are available during weekday hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.